Dear Mahopac Families,


First, thanks to the voters of Mahopac for the overwhelming support of the school budget.


Summer is just about here. As I look back on the year there were a few low points. Snow closings, delayed openings and power outages come to mind. However, there were many more high points. Our students excelled in academics, successfully competed in athletics and dazzled us with skills as artists and performers. Our community came together in countless ways to help one another and make Mahopac a better place.


I have been working with Dr. Creedon to provide a smooth transition for your new superintendent. I envy him for getting a chance to do this job that I have loved.


Best wishes to all of you for the summer and beyond.



Brian D. Monahan, Ph.D.
Interim Superintendent




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Michael Harrold of Jambo Productions brings the world to Fulmar Road students
via stories, photos - and conversation starters like scorpions and snakes.
Fulmar Road Explores the World

Fulmar Road Elementary School students immersed themselves in the cultures of the world this spring without leaving their school, thanks to a visit from Michael Harrold of Jambo Productions. Harrold, a photographer, educator and storyteller who travels the world and then shares his stories with students, presented an elaborate show-and-tell of his visits to China, Kenya, Peru, Egypt, Thailand, Mexico, Cuba, India, Ecuador and more.


"It's really important to learn at least some important phrases in the language of the country you are traveling to," Harrold told students. "Things like 'hello,' and 'thank you' are especially important."


Though customs may differ widely, "most people in the world are good," Harrold said, noting the many ways he was shown hospitality while visiting abroad. Harrold's visit was arranged by the Arts in Education Program at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, a comprehensive support service that assists in the planning, scheduling, booking and evaluation of the full range of arts-related consultant services for schools.


Students watched a slide show of swimming elephants, tigers in Africa, pyramids in Egypt and a brother and sister sharing a pair of rollerblades in Cuba. "They said their parents could only afford one pair," he said. Children in some countries he visited would have been "thrilled to be in a school like this one," he said, "because instead of going to school, they have to work to support their families."


Harrold also brought with him a "traveling museum" of artifacts from his adventures, including a scorpion, a baby king cobra, and a vampire bat (all safely deceased) as well as a striking blue morpho butterfly from the Amazon.


"It was really interesting to learn about the different places he's gone to," said one student, "but the best part was getting to hold the dead scorpion!"



Lakeview Makes Wish Come True for One of Its Own


The Make-a-Wish Foundation has always been a cause close to Lakeview Elementary School's heart, but this year students and staff feel a special connection with their wish recipient, since he is a Lakeview student. Hayden, a kindergartner who was diagnosed with a serious illness last July, recently returned to school after an eight-month absence during his treatment. Hayden has chosen a trip to the Florida theme parks for his wish, and he and his family will set out for their trip in June.


Hayden and his family have expressed how touched they are by the goodness of others who have reached out to help them. Fellow students are happy to have him back at school.


"The kids are excited to see Hayden in the hall and are welcoming him back with big smiles," said Lakeview teacher Denise Hembury, who has been coordinating Lakeview's Make-a-Wish events for the past 19 years.


Students and staff at Lakeview have been hard at work with fundraising events throughout the year, but May is the month where the magic really takes place.


"Our Star boutique, which had homemade crafts; T-shirts; wish-inspired, student-designed jewelry; and promotional items for children to buy, raised $4,400," said Hembury. "Lakeview also held other mini-fundraisers that brought in a good amount of money for Hayden's wish, such as a Free Throw Contest and a Used Book Sale with books donated by faculty, staff and families," according to Hembury.


The culminating event-the annual Student vs. Staff Basketball Game-is held each year, with face painting, a bake sale, raffle, games and more to add to the fun. This year's event was on May 15. "The night of the actual fundraiser has an indescribable energy that permeates throughout the building," Hembury said.  


"Make-A-Wish events in our school have helped our students develop a greater sense of character education, as well as empathy for others," according to Hembury. "It's important for kids to take a moment to think about what challenges others may be going through."


 Teacher Denise Hembury with students at the Make-a-Wish Star Boutique.
To date Lakeview has raised $21,005  

for Hayden's wish and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Hudson Valley.


Even parents who no longer have  

children in the school continue to  

volunteer for this event, according to Hembury. "I like to think that once someone is a part of Make-A-Wish here at Lakeview, they never leave us!"



Mahopac High School Adds Three New Technology Classes this Fall  

Mahopac High School Principal Adam Pease, future MHS technology teacher Gary Luciano and Assistant Principal Troy Bilyeu in the old wood shop, which will be converted into a technology lab for the new fall classes.
Technology is to today's teenagers what
the telephone used to be to baby boomers-something that they are completely familiar with and cannot possibly live without. So it's no surprise that when Mahopac High School offered three new technology classes to its
fall electives curriculum, student response was enthusiastic.


"There was great interest in the program  

as soon as we put it out there to students," said Mahopac High School Assistant

Principal Troy Bilyeu, adding that 75  

students signed up, some for more than  

one course.


The courses being offered in the fall are Introduction to Technical Drawing and  

CAD; Introduction to Engineering; and Introduction to Electronics & Robotics.


"I've always wanted to teach this type of program," said Mahopac Middle School teacher Gary Luciano, who will move to  

the high school to teach the Technology curriculum full-time in the fall. "I studied  

Tech education in school, so I'm grateful to have the opportunity to start a remarkable program in Mahopac."


Luciano has been busy researching successful programs at high schools such as Hendrick Hudson, Rush Henrietta, and Wallkill in order to glean the best from each as well as come up with his own format.


"We had a technology program in the past that was cut for budget reasons," said MHS Principal Dr. Adam Pease, "and we are really excited that we have been able to put together this program, which is more modern and employs engineering."


The new classes will be housed in the old wood shop space, which will be completely renovated this summer.  

It will be set up with PCs, scanners, and a 3-D printer.


"This program will help us make interdisciplinary connections between math, art, engineering, and science," said Pease. "We really see this program bridging a lot of programs."


"That's the way it should be," added Luciano. "These are very interdisciplinary courses."


MHS sophomore Nancy He signed up for both the Intro to Robotics and the Intro to Engineering courses. "I think technology has a huge impact on the world, and it will be good to have more knowledge before going to college," she said. As for the robotics course, "I like to make things," she said. "I think it will be really interesting."


Mahopac High School junior Christian Donahoe said he may want to study engineering in college. "It will be really good to see what engineering is like before deciding to major in it," he said. Christian is signed up for the Intro to Engineering course.

Mahopac Middle School Promotes Online Safety  

Internationally renowned speaker Michael Nerney speaks to parents and students about
Internet safety.
More than 70 Mahopac Middle School parents came out in March for a seminar titled Teens, Tweens and Technology. Led by Michael Nerney, a nationally renowned speaker on the subject of substance-abuse prevention and adolescent brain development, the presentation focused on the effects of social media and the use of cell phones on adolescent mental health.


One of the most important things when dealing with social media and teenagers, Nerney said, is making sure the kids know that parents are in control. He recommended parents drawing up "contracts" with their teens about appropriate Internet and cell-phone use.


"Research shows that kids believe that if their parents love them they will hold them accountable for behavior," Nerney said. When they have a consequence for inappropriate behavior, such as rude texts or online bullying of other students, they won't do it again; if they have no consequence, there's nothing stopping them. "Not having a conflict with your child doesn't make you closer to your child," he said.


Nerney also recommended turning off digital devices at night. "They disrupt sleep function, and teens are already sleep deprived," he said.


Mahopac Middle School Principal Vincent DiGrandi was pleased with the information Nerney shared. "He provided excellent, research-based information to parents about social media and how it affects student brains," he said. "Sometimes students send a text, tweet, or electronic response that is mean and do not see the facial expressions or body language of the recipient. Therefore, the sender really doesn't get a first-hand understanding of the damage these responses do to a person. Our eighth graders whom Mr. Nerney presented to understood this-now let's hope it changes behaviors."


Students also attended a seminar led by Nerney and learned valuable information about how nothing they post online or in texts is ever really private.


Predators can learn information even from photos students post online, Nerney said, cautioning against posting too much information.


"Presentations like this are necessary to develop a better digital citizenry in all of our students," DiGrandi said.


For more information on online and cell-phone safety, Nerney suggested the website Onguardonline.gov.




Austin Road Summer Reading Challenge Takes Off

Students in Lori Hengel's second-grade class get ready to participate in Austin Road's Summer Reading Challenge.


Summertime, and the livin' is easy. But vacation mode can sometimes make it a bit too easy for children to take time off from reading, which is where Austin Road's Summer Reading Challenge comes in.


"Our goal is to have books in children's hands every day of the summer," said Austin Road second-grade teacher Lori Hengel.


Austin Road's Site-Based Team came up with the idea for the Summer Reading Program and instituted it three years ago. Children must read for at least 20 days over the summer to earn a spot on the Wall of Fame bulletin board as one of Austin Road's Super Summer Readers. The board is located in the school's main hallway.


"There was tremendous interest the first year, and each year more children have participated," Hengel said.


While children can read any time of day, Hengel said, "I always suggest that they read at breakfast. There is no better way to start a summer day!" Of course afternoons and bedtime are good opportunities as well. "Any time is a good time to go on a new adventure and read a book," according to Hengel.


In June, students are given reading calendars and encouraged to read each day. If they read for at least 20 days, parents and students sign the calendars and hand them in to their teachers the first week back to school in September. Children then earn a spot on the Austin Road reading Wall of Fame.


Students are happy to see their names on a star on the Wall of Fame.


"I felt proud of myself when I walked into school and saw my name on the Wall of Fame last September," said second grader Samantha, after taking the reading challenge over the summer.


Fellow student Kieran, who also participated in last summer's challenge, said "I like to read when I go to bed. I read this really excellent Magic Tree House series last summer."


Children can collect a calendar to take the challenge right up until the last day of school.


"We look forward to the children learning about new things, going to new places and forming new friendships between the covers of good books," said Hengel. "We wish all our students a happy summer reading."



Mahopac Mission  

 The mission of the Mahopac Central School District is to ensure that every student acquires  

the skills,  knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills prerequisite to operate effectively   

in the broader community and lead a successful, productive life in a changing world. 


Board of Education 

Michael J.Sclafani, President; Leslie Mancuso Vice President
Earle Bellows; Patricia Caputo; Lawrence Keane;   
 Lucy Massafra; Marc Pekowsky; Tilde Zimmerman   


Interim Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Brian Monahan


District Clerk

Jennifer Bisaccia   


Published by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES: 

Karen Thornton, Editor; Maria Ilardi, Art Director